Workforce Development

Workforce Development Resources


One of the growing concerns among Tribal enterprises and businesses is the lack of a trained workforce. All businesses depend on the quality of personnel for their productivity and profitability. A common goal of economic development and workforce development programs is to strengthen the local talent pool of workers to match the need of local and regional employers. In order for Tribal communities to connect workforce and economic development issues, they must:

  • Combine and coordinate job creation and job placement activities
  • Design ways to involve businesses in workforce development program design and decision making
  • Make better use of labor market and other relevant economic development information-gathering activities

Key players in workforce development programs can include:

  • Local businesses and industry associations
  • Economic development organizations
  • Community colleges and other institutions of higher learning
  • Training centers/small business development centers
  • High school and vocational schools
  • Community and faith-based institutions
  • Industry associations

  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 – WIOA was designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Core programs administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are:
      • Employment and training services for adults, dislocated workers, and youth and Wagner-Peyser employment services administered by the DOL through formula grants to states and Tribal Nations; and
      • Adult education and family literacy programs, as well as State Vocational Rehabilitation Services programs that assist eligible individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment; both core programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Learn more about the WIOA and DOL programs.

  • Public Law 102-477 – The Bureau of Indian Affairs is the lead federal agency for implementing the Demonstration Project created by Public Law 102-477, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Act, 25 U.S.C. section 3401 et seq. The Public Law 102-477 Demonstration Project integrates multiple federal employment, training, and related services into one program that can be more effectively and efficiently managed by the Tribal Nation. The federal programs currently integrated into Tribal demonstration projects are administered by the Department of the Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education); the Department of Labor (Division of Indian and Native American Programs); and the Department of Health and Human Services (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Care and Development Fund, Native Employment Works and Community Service Block Grants). Learn more about the 477 Program and how Tribal Nations can participate.

  • American Indian College Fund – The American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest charity supporting Native student access to higher education by providing scholarships, programming, and the support and tools for them to succeed once they are there.
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) – Founded in 1977, AISES supports 220 affiliated pre-college schools, 197 chartered college and university chapters, three Tribal chapters, and 18 professional chapters in the U.S. and Canada, promoting the highest standards of education and professional excellence to highlight the geographic, economic, and social aspects of STEM education and careers. In addition to awarding nearly $12 million in academic scholarships, AISES offers internships, professional development and career resources, national and regional conferences, leadership development summits, and other STEM-focused programming.
  • American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) – AIBL is the only American Indigenous non-profit organization solely dedicated to empowering business students in the United States. Their programs are designed to engage students in activities that stimulate, enhance, and expand educational experiences beyond traditional academic methods.

American Indian College FundThe National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Partnership for Tribal Governance (PTG) released a Tribal Workforce Development toolkit for Tribal Leaders and key decision makers.